If your physical health was in the same condition that your spiritual health is, how healthy would you be?
Interesting question, isn’t it?
“… In all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2–NASB
As I read this tucked-away prayer, my breath catches on the phrase, “as your soul prospers.” I read on and then come back. Soul prospers. Dead stop, my attention is on full alert as I sense that God has something to show me. Taking time to investigate meaning brings the word prosper to life as I savor the nuances that fill up the letters. In this context, prosper has to do with the success of a good journey, as well as to thrive, grow, and increase.
A prospering soul doesn’t happen in a single moment.
The language here points to a journey, step by step as I walk out what it means to believe God.
I navigate the joys and challenges of life with a heart that chooses to love God in spite of…
in light of…
Each choice becomes a step that moves me either closer or farther away from God.
Razor-sharp perception pierces: as the soul prospers, other areas of life increase. This is not the plastic promise of a prosperity gospel. The soul prospering is happening, and John is praying that now health and “all respects” might prosper as well. His prayer is a request for blessing.
How often I get this backwards; I work on increasing health and the practicalities of life, paying attention to my soul only if there is time left over.
The soul that prospers is the soul that is satisfied in God.
The prosperous soul is learning to live out of the fullness of God’s Spirit, rather than out of the strivings of the flesh, a self-focused heart.
The flesh will leave me spent and weary with my soul withering. Seeking to enjoy spiritual blessings without trusting in Christ leaves my soul working to prosper, rather than resting to prosper. In quiet trust, my soul lays down its self-work, self-ambition, and self-solutions and waits to be filled to all the fullness of Christ.
A prospering soul is the end of encouragement.
This life-giving energy strengthens me—not to solve every issue of life—but to know in greater measure the fullness of Christ.
What is the condition of your soul life today? Are you increasing in soul health? If not, join me as I follow the advice of the One who put the stars in place:
“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11:28-30–The Message
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”–Matthew 6:33 NASB